Cannabis for Anxiety

Describe how patients can use cannabis for anxiety. 

If you’re one of the 40 millions adults in the United States who live with anxiety, you’ve most likely heard cannabis may be able to help. You might have also heard that cannabis can potentially cause anxiety, or make anxiety worse. Technically, both of these statements are true.

For some, cannabis has been shown to help ease the symptoms of different anxiety disorders, and for others, it has the opposite effect, causing them to worsen. The effects of cannabis in treating anxiety vary greatly depending on the cannabinoid content of the flower, the terpene profile, how each of our own ECS (endocannabinoid system) works, and the type and severity of anxiety we may be experiencing. This can make cannabis a questionable choice for patients wondering the same question you might be asking yourself right now, “Can cannabis help with my anxiety?”

The answer may not be an easy one, and it’s different for each of us, but it’s not as difficult as the confusion around cannabis helping with anxiety may seem. Here’s what we know. In general, cannabis is known for having a relaxing effect, and can help with sleep, so it makes sense that consuming cannabis could help people with anxiety be able to calm down. What scientists have discovered are a few things.

First off, scientific review has found the evidence conclusive, that CBD is able to reduce anxiety behaviors in multiple anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, OCD, and PTSD. This is great news, considering these and other types of anxiety disorders affect 18% of our entire population, and although most anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only about 40% of people receive any sort of treatment. That means 6 out of every 10 people suffering from anxiety, for one reason or another, are not treating it, despite a multitude of available treatments, including the evidence showing CBD can help. 

Then there is research suggesting higher doses of THC can cause symptoms of anxiety. This is good to know, because there are a lot of high dose THC products available on the market due to the medicinal benefits of THC. Experts also discuss the entourage effect where the medicinal benefits of cannabis are amplified when allowed to work together, so CBD isolate products may not be the right answer for everyone.

So what does this mean for you if you’re wanting to try cannabis for your anxiety? Stay away from high THC strains or products as these seem to increase anxiety symptoms in certain people. Start off by trying high CBD products, with either very little, or no THC at all. Once you’ve gotten familiar with how well CBD might affect your anxiety, next, try adding in very low amounts of THC. Experiment with how they make you feel when consumed together. THC and CBD often have a symbiotic relationship, so even combining small amounts of THC with CBD, can potentially increase the benefits of both cannabinoids. 

Hopefully this will help in choosing the right cannabis product for your anxiety. And as always, feel free to ask our patient care specialists any questions you may have about cannabis and anxiety, or for any other reason. 

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